Whittier is a city in the Valdez-Cordova Census Area, in the U.S. state of Alaska. As of 2006, the population was 177. The city is also a port for the Alaska Marine Highway.
Whittier is located at 60°46′27″N 148°40′40″W / 60.77417°N 148.67778°W / 60.77417; -148.67778 (60.774174, -148.677649), near the Anton Anderson Memorial Tunnel.
Whittier is on the northeast shore of the Kenai Peninsula, at the head of Passage Canal, on the west side of Prince William Sound. Whittier is 120 km (75 mi) southeast of Anchorage.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 19.7 square miles (51 km2), of which, 12.5 square miles (32 km2) of it is land and 7.2 square miles (19 km2) of it (36.36%) is water.
As of 2006, there were 177 people, 86 households, and 46 families residing in the city. The population density was 14.5 people per square mile (5.6/km²). There were 213 housing units at an average density of 17.0 per square mile (6.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 79.12% White, 7.14% Asian, 5.49% Native American, and 8.24% from two or more races. Two people (1.10% of the population) are Hispanic or Latino of any race. There were no measurable populations of African Americans, Pacific Islanders, or people from other races though on a summer visit, it is possible to meet people of diverse backgrounds living in the single residence in the city.
Of the 86 households, 29.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 41.9% were married couples living together, 4.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.5% were non-families. 39.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 7.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.12 and the average family size was 2.80.
In the city the age distribution of the population shows 22.0% under the age of 18, 2.7% from 18 to 24, 36.8% from 25 to 44, 31.9% from 45 to 64, and 6.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 111.6 males. For every ten females age 18 and over, there are 12.9 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $47,500, and the median income for a family was $51,875. Males had a median income of $53,500 versus $26,875 for females. The per capita income for the city was $25,700. About 4.1% of families and 7.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.6% of those under the age of eighteen and none of those sixty five or over.
The Whittier Glacier near Whittier was named for the American poet John Greenleaf Whittier in 1915.
During World War II the United States Army constructed a military facility, complete with port and railroad terminus near the glacier and named the facility Camp Sullivan. The spur of the Alaska Railroad to Camp Sullivan was completed in 1943 and the port became the entrance for United States soldiers into Alaska. The port remained an active army facility until 1960.
The two huge buildings that dominate Whittier were built after World War II. The Hodge Building (now Begich Towers) was built for housing soldiers and the Buckner Building, completed in 1953, was called the "city under one roof". Both buildings were at one time the largest buildings in Alaska. The Begich Building is now a condominium, and houses nearly all of Whittier's residents. The port remained an active Army facility until 1960. Whittier was incorporated in 1969.
The town was severely damaged by tsunamis triggered by the 1964 Good Friday Earthquake; thirteen people died due to waves that reached 13 m (43 ft).
Whittier is a popular port of call for cruise ships, as it has connections to Anchorage and the interior of Alaska by both highway and rail. It is the embarkation/debarkation point of the Denali Express nonstop rail service to and from Denali National Park operated by Princess Tours. Whittier is also popular with tourists, sport fishermen and hunters.